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Samaritan's Purse comes through for disabled veteran

Albany Herald - 12/2/2018

Dec. 02--ALBANY -- John Knighton, 75, settled uncomfortably into the recliner in his man cave and lit up a cigarette. He added the room several years ago "because my wife won't let me smoke in the house." The disabled U.S. Army veteran has had a rough couple of years, getting through two tornadoes and October's Hurricane Michael.

Knighton's comfy home on Winterwood Avenue escaped much of the storms' wrath, although Michael took down two trees in the backyard and scattered broken limbs throughout the property. It was too much for Knighton, who gets around via a motorized scooter.

"In 1968, I got hurt in the Army when I fell and hit the corner of a footlocker. But the symptoms didn't appear until six or seven years ago," Knighton said. "I retired from BellSouth after 25 years in 1997. I got around pretty good. One day I woke up and my legs just stopped working. So I went to a chiropractor to begin with. He sent me to a neurologist who took some x-rays and they found the seventh and eighth vertebra had twisted and were compressing my spinal cord.

"And that was affecting my legs and apparently nothing could be done about it. And it is progressively going downhill ever since."

There was no way Knighton would have been able to remove the downed trees and debris from his property. So in his hour of he need, he called Samaritan's Purse, a Baptist volunteer relief organization.

"We were fortunate in that we didn't get a lot of damage. Others did, trees down on their houses and things like that, but I knew we needed help," Knighton said. "A few days after the last storm, I went down to the old Coca-Cola plant (the Samaritan's Purse staging area). They were very, very nice and it rocked along for a couple of weeks. But I knew they were busy because there we a lot of people in a lot worse shape than I was in.

"They told me I was number 549 on a list of 1,800 and they said we are in the 300s now, so it won't be long."

A short while later members of the group arrived at the Knighton residence.

"After a few days, they showed up. It was eight men and two ladies, and in three hours they were through," Knighton said." They cut up a big Chinaberry and a pear tree and moved them them to the curb. They did an outstanding job. I had heard of them before but had no idea what they did. I just knew they were started by Billy Graham. But I never followed them because I'm Church of Christ.

"But they were very, very nice and helped me out a lot."

According to the nonprofit's website, Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through Jesus.

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(c)2018 The Albany Herald, Ga.

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